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With apologies to Susan Sontag.

Metaphors are indispensable tools for making sense of reality, including the ongoing reality of systemic colonial relations—or to obfuscate it (to deflect the need to enact substantive decolonisation agendas, for example). In times of crisis they perform a crucial role in translating and interpreting a rapidly changing world.

Viral phenomena have multiplied recently, literally and metaphorically. But all crises generate metaphorical languages. Terrorism was not a virus, it was a bacterial formation; the GFC was a fierce and incontrollable storm… The ‘Canberra bubble’ – a bad thing – has become the ‘family bubble’ – a good thing. To understand what is at stake in the metaphors we use and the ways they are deployed, we need a critical engagement with their underlying assumptions, their rhetorical operation, their ideological effects, and their real-world implications.


Illness as metaphor

Friday 23 October

With apologies to Susan Sontag.

Luis Gómez Romero (Law, University of Wollongong) ‘“If You’re Not Human, Then It’s all Different”: On Martians, Replicants and the (Metaphorical) Legal Manufacture of Difference and Identity’

Wesam Hassan (Anthropology, University of Oxford), ‘HIV/AIDS and its metaphors in Egypt post-2011’.

Brisa Paim Duarte (Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra), ‘The new virology of life and the metaphors of (in)visibility and change in law, philosophy and politics’.

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Recorded: 23 October 2020


Luis Gómez Romero
Wesam Hassan
Brisa Paim Duarte


metaphors recording The Bubble videos


Other Recordings

1 Dec 2021

A New Social Contract for Food

IPCS in partnership with the Mildura Writers Festival. Panel discussion with Gabrielle Chan, Richard Cornish, Stefano de Pieri, Pete Mailler, and Lauren Rickards. Imagining A New Social Contract for Food …